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Population and Development Review. 2013 Dec; 39(4):687-704.The most immediate environmental problem in major regions of the world is probably the scarcity of fresh water for agriculture. Insufficiency and irregularity of rainfall require the use of stored water. Both major compartments for fresh water storage -- glaciers and groundwater -- are being depleted rapidly and at similar rates. Drawdown of groundwater is primarily the result of irrigation required to supply the food needs of large populations. Glacier melt is an effect of global warming chiefly caused by high levels of industrial production and transport. However, an important fraction of glacier melt is caused by food chain emissions (agricultural greenhouse gases and black carbon or cooking soot). In toto, the loss of water resulting from food and agriculture may be significantly greater than that resulting from industrial production and transport, the factors more commonly cited. This suggests that the role of population, closely linked to food and agriculture, is central to the depletion of fresh water.
Liquid assets: How demographic changes and water management policies affect freshwater resources. Summary.
In: Liquid assets: How demographic changes and water management policies affect freshwater resources, [by] Jill Boberg. Santa Monica, California, RAND, 2005. xiii-xxiii.Demographic factors play an important role in environmental change, along with biophysical, economic, sociopolitical, technological, and cultural factors, all of which are interrelated. Recent demographic trends have sparked concern about the impact of the human population on a critical element of the natural environment - fresh water. In the last 70 years, the world's population has tripled in size while going from overwhelmingly rural to a near balance of urban and rural - a change that affects both how humans use water and the amount they consume. In the late 1980s, concern over a potential water crisis began to grow. Much of the resulting literature has taken an alarmist view. Numerous reports sensationalized the so-called water crisis without talking into account the local or regional nature of water resources and the relationship between supply and demand. A number of factors are cited to support the position that the earth is headed toward a water crisis. They include the following: the human population continues to grow; water withdrawals are outpacing population growth; per-capita water availability is declining; clean, potable water is less available worldwide. (excerpt)
Santa Monica, California, RAND, 2005.  p.Demographic factors play an important role in environmental change, along with biophysical, economic, sociopolitical, technological, and cultural factors, all of which are interrelated. Recent demographic trends have sparked concern about the impact of the human population on a critical element of the natural environment - fresh water. In the last 70 years, the world's population has tripled in size while going from overwhelmingly rural to a near balance of urban and rural - a change that affects both how humans use water and the amount they consume. In the late 1980s, concern over a potential water crisis began to grow. Much of the resulting literature has taken an alarmist view. Numerous reports sensationalized the so-called water crisis without talking into account the local or regional nature of water resources and the relationship between supply and demand. A number of factors are cited to support the position that the earth is headed toward a water crisis. They include the following: the human population continues to grow; water withdrawals are outpacing population growth; per-capita water availability is declining; clean, potable water is less available worldwide. (excerpt)
Washington, D.C., International Food Policy Research Institute [IFPRI], 2020 Vision for Food, Agriculture, and the Environment, 2001 Oct.  p. (Overcoming Water Scarcity and Quality Constraints. Focus 9. Brief 1)Access to enough water of sufficient quality is fundamental for all human, animal, and plant life as well as for most economic activity. At the global level, plenty of water is available. But to meet the demand, water has to be supplied where and when it is needed. These spatial, temporal, and qualitative characteristics pose the greatest challenge to meeting the rising demand in all sectors. Water withdrawals are only part of the picture. Almost all uses put something back into the water that degrades it for other users. Water quality and competition between users are therefore critical issues for the future of water use. There is no single ?magic bullet? to solve these complex and interrelated problems. Increases in water supplies, and especially storage, are needed, but so is demand management, including not only economic instruments but also education and other efforts to change behavior. Appropriate technologies and institutions must both play a role. (excerpt)
Washington, D.C., International Food Policy Research Institute [IFPRI], 2020 Vision for Food, Agriculture, and the Environment, 2001 Oct.  p. (Overcoming Water Scarcity and Quality Constraints. Focus 9. Brief 8)Groundwater problems emerging in many parts of the world reduce drought-buffer supplies, threaten environmental values, and increase risks for many of the world?s poorest people. Programs to improve public understanding and basic scientific information regarding the resource base and to encourage the evolution of groundwater management systems are essential. Furthermore, because many countries will need years to develop systems for managing groundwater, policies should encourage users to adapt to water scarcity conditions rather than attempt to solve water problems per se. (excerpt)
Washington, D.C., International Food Policy Research Institute [IFPRI], 2020 Vision for Food, Agriculture, and the Environment, 2001 Oct.  p. (Overcoming Water Scarcity and Quality Constraints. Focus 9. Brief 2)Water for agriculture is critical for food security. However, water for irrigation may be threatened by rapidly increasing nonagricultural uses in industry, households, and the environment. New investments in irrigation and water supply systems and improved water management can meet part of the demand. But in many arid or semiarid areas--and seasonally in wetter areas--water is no longer abundant. The high economic and environmental costs of developing new water resources limit supply expansion. Therefore, even new supplies may be insufficient. Whether water will be available for irrigation so that agricultural production can provide for national and global food security remains an urgent question for the world. This brief examines the relationship between water and food production over the next 30 years using IFPRI?s IMPACTWATER model. This global model simulates the relationships among water availability and demand, food supply and demand, international food prices, and trade at the regional andglobal levels. The baseline scenario incorporates our best estimates of the policy, investment, technological, and behavioral parameters driving the food and water sectors. We then look at how faster growth in municipal and industrial (M&I) demand and slower investments in irrigation and water supply infrastructure would affect food production. (excerpt)
[Washington, D.C.], Earth Policy Institute, 2006 Jul 26.  p.Global freshwater use tripled during the second half of the twentieth century as population more than doubled and as technological advances let farmers and other water users pump groundwater from greater depths and harness river water with more and larger dams. As global demand soars, pressures on the world's water resources are straining aquatic systems worldwide. Rivers are running dry, lakes are disappearing, and water tables are dropping. Nearly 70 percent of global water withdrawals from rivers, lakes, and aquifers are used for irrigation, while industry and households account for 20 and 10 percent, respectively. Pressure on water resources is particularly acute in arid regions that support agricultural production or large populations--regions where water use is high relative to water availability. The Middle East, Central Asia, North Africa, South Asia, China, Australia, the western United States, and Mexico are especially prone to water shortages. (excerpt)
Washington, D.C., Population Reference Bureau [PRB], MEASURE Communication, 2002 Aug.  p.The number of people on Earth, where they live, and how they live all affect the condition of the environment. People can alter the environment through their use of natural resources and the production of wastes. Changes in environmental conditions, in turn, can affect human health and well-being. Human demographic dynamics, such as the size, growth, distribution, age composition, and migration of populations, are among the many factors that can lead to environmental change. Consumption patterns, development choices, wealth and land distribution, government policies, and technology can mediate or exacerbate the effects of demographics on the environment. The precise impact of a given change depends on the interplay among all these factors, but it is clear that demographic change can affect the environment. (excerpt)
New York, New York, United Nations Population Fund [UNFPA], 2003 Mar. xiii, 57 p. (Population and Development Strategies No. 6; E/1000/2003)UNFPA fully supports multi-sectoral policies and population and development programmes designed to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Such policies and programmes need to take into account the linkages that exist between the different goals and the critical intervening role of population factors and reproductive health. Progressing towards the MDG targets, eradicating poverty and achieving sustainable development is dependent on making progress towards the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) goal of achieving universal access to reproductive health services. Population growth and dynamics are often associated with environmental degradation in terms of encroachment of fragile ecosystems, rapid and unplanned urbanization, as well as water and food insecurity. Population pressures tend to be highest in countries least able to absorb large increments of people, threatening sustainable development and resulting in deterioration in the quality of life. (excerpt)
Mississauga, Canada, World Vision Canada, . , 36 p.This activity and resources guide was produced for use with people aged 14-18 years old, although in many cases it can be adapted for use with adults and younger adolescents. Canadians need a better understanding of the developing world, the root causes of poverty, and the principles of lasting development. This guide will help teachers, educators, students, and youth group leaders in Canada go beyond the typical media images of hunger and poverty to see more clearly their connections to global issues of poverty, environmental degradation, and human justice. It is hoped that participating in the guide's activities will impart in participants a sense of global community, shared responsibility, and awareness of opportunities to act. Interactive, participatory exercises are one of the best ways to build empathy and awareness. Accordingly, this guide has a variety of challenging, participatory activities which can be adapted to particular settings.
Workshop report on human population dynamics and resource demand, 30 November - 1 December 1990. IUCN -- the World Conservation Union, 18th General Assembly, Perth, Australia.
Gland, Switzerland, IUCN, 1991. viii, 53 p.A report on a human population dynamics and resource demand workshop includes a discussion of 1) the ambiguities of sustainable development 2) implementing the principals of caring for the earth, 3) families, communities and sustainable use of natural resources with examples from Australia, Korea, Nepal, Colombia, and Burkina Faso, and priorities and followup action on population and natural resources. The Appendices contain brief accounts of the preassembly meetings, the workshop agenda, a list of participants, a concept paper on population and environment links, a resolution on human population dynamics and resource demand, a resolution on women and natural resource management, a report on the meeting on future orientations of The World Conservation Union's "women and the natural resource management program," and a list of papers available on request. Ambiguities pointed out, for example, by Dr. van den Oever were that population growth, which is a demographic phenomena, needs to be considered separately from resource consumption at high levels. Another distinction was made between decreasing the rate of population growth and stopping population growth entirely. Stable populations continue to grow until they become stationary. Another distinction was made between the demographic data available and the lack of similar data on natural resources such as trees, plants, or animals. Another, discussant, Professor Malin Falkenmark, noted the lack of attention paid to the single most important resource to sustain life, water. In order to implement principles of caring for the earth, universities and students must become more involved in advocacy and in the real world. Policy decisions are difficult to make in Pakistan. Americans think that their own over-consumption needs to be checked before they can interfere in developing countries. The priorities are population growth, dealing with the inequities between rich and poor, resource consumption, and not ignoring the southern developing countries while eastern Europe currently receives attention.
Ambio. 2001 Aug; 30(4-5):306-314.Long-term changes in the environmental quality of water in Latvia (chemical composition of inland waters, wastewater treatment, and drinking-water treatment practices and quality) as a response to socioeconomic changes have been studied. Water composition, the major factors influencing water chemistry, and human impacts (wastewater loading) were studied to determine changes that occurred after recent reductions in pollution emissions, particularly nutrient loading, to surface waters. After 1991, (Latvia regained independence in 1991) inland water quality has begun to improve mainly as a result of decreases in nutrient loads from point and nonpoint sources and substantial efforts in the area of environmental protection. The situation differs, however, for drinking-water treatment, where practices have also changed during the whole period from 1980 till 2000. More stringent drinking water-quality standards and novel insights regarding changes in water quality in the distribution network, necessitate further improvements in public water supply, and place this particular water issue among Latvia's main priorities. (author's)
[Unpublished] 1999  p.The increasing block tariff (IBT) system is the most widely used water tariff in many countries. It charges higher prices for high consumption of water so as to discourage excessive water use. However, it has been noted that municipal water tariffs are hurting both the poor and the environment in many developing countries. Research conducted by Professors John Boland and Dale Whittington, which examined how IBTs are implemented in cities across Southeast Asia, Latin America, and Africa, indicate that the IBT system is seriously flawed. Instead of helping the poor, it hinders them from fully capitalizing on the potential savings offered by the IBT. The high cost that IBTs establish on firms also further reduce the tariff's effectiveness at distributing water cost equitably. Another problem is the lack of transparency and over-complexity associated with IBTs. In response, the researchers recommend a different approach to water pricing, involving a much simpler 2-part tariff. This would consist of a single volumetric charge equal to the marginal water cost coupled with a fixed monthly credit or rebate. The scheme also incorporates a minimum monthly charge to avoid negative bills. Under this approach, most poor households would receive a lower bill than the one they receive under the IBT system and a higher percentage of households would face the full marginal cost of the water.
In: All of us. Births and a better life: population, development and environment in a globalized world. Selections from the pages of the Earth Times, edited by Jack Freeman and Pranay Gupte. New York, New York, Earth Times Books, 1999. 420-9.The water crisis is a very complicated issue. Roughly 1 billion people on Earth still have no access to drinkable water; almost 4 billion have no access to sanitation or sewage services. According to WHO, almost half of the people of the world suffer from water-borne or water-related diseases, which together account for roughly 5 million deaths a year. Moreover, the World Resources Institute has estimated that by 2050, 13-20% of the world's people will be living in water-scarce countries, mostly in the Middle East and Africa, but all countries face pockets of scarcity due to drought and various factors. Daily per capita use of water in Africa is about 30 liters--for those with access to it. In the US daily per capita use is 600 liters. This paper discusses the efforts of different international organizations and governments to secure potable water supply in the coming years. It quotes statements issuing from several conferences on the water crisis and follows an argument concerning private- versus public-sector investment in such technologies as community pipes and rain harvesting structures.
NEW YORK TIMES. 1996 May 23; 10.This paper concerns a water crisis and the impact it had on the lives of Chinese village peasants, who depended on the Yellow River for agriculture and industry. The crisis occurred when the government restricted the peasants from using the water from the Yellow River and only allowed the oil industry access to the water supply. This scenario was another indication of China's developing water crisis. The government favored the oil industry by declaring a state of emergency that forced farmers and factories to close sluice gates so that the water would reach Dongying, where the oil company was located. This bias was just one of the many problems that caused the water shortage. Chinese government scientists had predicted that the demand for Yellow River water would outstrip available supplies by 250 billion cu. feet in the year 2000, while the World Bank s assessment went beyond that of the scientists predicted value. Although China ranks 6th in the world in total water resources, at that time the abundant water resources were often found in the wrong places at the wrong time, so a shortage still occurred. Since the Yellow River is key to the people s survival in that region, the government planned a series of new dams to be built, which would control the flow of river water.
UNESCO SOURCES. 1996 Nov; (84):7.This paper discusses the possibilities of facing global water shortages within the next 50 years. The limited freshwater supplies have been attributed to the growing population and wide-scale mismanagement, which paved the way for conflict in the national, regional and commercial levels. In order to avoid this worst possible scenario, there is a need to learn more about the water cycle and the impact of human activities on ecological balance. Aside from that, developing strategies entails a better understanding of the ways in which different cultures perceive and value water so that equitable sharing is achieved. Lastly, this crisis can be confronted only with the availability of best scientific data and nations working closely together to achieve this goal.
PEOPLE AND THE PLANET. 1996; 5(3):6-9.Globally, water use has more than tripled since 1950, and the answer to this rising demand generally has been to build more and bigger water supply projects, particularly dams and river diversions. As population and consumption levels grow, more and more rivers are being dammed, diverted, or overtapped to supply increasing volumes of water to cities, industries, and farms. Among these rivers are the Nile in northeast Africa, the Ganges in south Asia, the Amu Dar'ya and Syr Dar'ya in the Aral Sea basin, the Huang He (Yellow River) in China, and the Colorado. Subsequently, such massive change in the global aquatic environment generated deterioration, decline, and in some cases, collapse in aquatic systems. In addition, competition for water is increasing not only between the human economy and the natural environment, but also between and within countries. Water scarcity is a potential source of conflict. Forces such as the depletion of resources; population growth; and unequal distribution or access can create political conflicts. Achieving more sustainable patterns of water use, restoring and maintaining the integrity of river systems, and cooperation within and between countries will not only protect the aquatic environment, but also avert conflict.
PEOPLE AND THE PLANET. 1997; 6(4):4-5.The UN General Assembly Special Session held during June 1997 has failed to take forward the objectives set out at the Earth Summit in Rio, casting doubt on the global effort to create a sustainable future. This article presents a balance sheet set out by Don Hinrichsen in the wake of Rio+5. It outlines the progress made by the UN as well as the prevailing issues, which need to be acted upon immediately. It is noted that little progress has been made since the Summit; only the issues of population, forests, and oceans have been given attention, subsequently achieving a significant progress. However, the UN has failed in addressing the issues of poverty, high consumption, management of freshwater, and the continued loss and impoverishment of biological diversity. Little or lack of progress has been made since Rio in implementing recommendations tackling such problems. In the context of the issues regarding land degradation and climate change, assessing progress would be too early for these aspects.
[The use of water: a critical focus on the population-environment-resources relationship] El uso del agua: un enfoque critico de la relacion poblacion-ambiente-recursos.
PAPELES DE POBLACION. 1998 Jan-Mar; 4(15):177-92.The case of the Laja River basin in Mexico illustrates the argument that over exploitation of water resources must be analyzed in broader terms than mere population growth. The work begins with an examination of the persistence in Mexico of a Malthusian focus in works on the relationship between population growth and the carrying capacity of river basins. Theoretical focuses that include social, cultural, and economic characteristics as well as physical factors in definitions of environment assume a systemic perspective that makes possible examination of relations between regional social systems and natural systems. The Laja basin was selected for study because of its high degree of internal ecological diversity, wide variety of agricultural systems, and multiple conflicts over water use. In the past three decades, with introduction of deep well technology and policies to promote a cheap food supply, a dualist agricultural economy has developed in which large producers growing commercial and export crops coexist with subsistence farmers who have probably reduced their use of irrigation. The river basin is deteriorating due to over exploitation of all natural resources and rapid demographic growth stemming from regional industrialization. The region has arrived at critical limits in only a few years, with the local population little involved in the process. The case suggests that proposals to stem deterioration of water resources cannot rely solely on technical solutions, but must involve achievement of consensus between the parties involved.
Why immigration reduction is necessary to protect the environment. U.S. population growth: primary cause of environmental degradation.
[Washington, D.C.], Carrying Capacity Network, . 15,  p.This article identifies population growth and immigration as the primary cause of environmental degradation in the US. The US has ample natural resources, but population growth forces a shift of open land to residential, industrial, and infrastructure use and results in increased consumption and pollution. About 94% of old-growth forests have been cut down. 99% of tall grass prairie is gone. Only 103 million of the original 221 million acres of wetlands remain. Coastal areas are experiencing the stress of population density and degradation from run-off. Over 2 million acres of prime cropland are lost to erosion, salinization, and waterlogging. The US has surpassed its carrying capacity. Reducing consumption is necessary, but so is reduced population growth. Population is expected to double over the next 60 years. Arable land is expected to be reduced by over 50% (250 million acres). Domestic food prices will increase due to the loss of farmland per person. Water consumption must decline by 50% in accordance with population growth and resources. Groundwater that supplies 31% of agricultural use is being depleted 25% faster than replenishment. An overview is provided of loss of biodiversity, social effects, and energy deficits. If population had stabilized at 1940s levels of 135 million, oil imports would not be necessary. Immigrants have a higher fertility rate and contribute 700,000 or more births yearly. A moratorium on immigration would give billions of dollars in relief. 11 fallacies are identified that are used to thwart immigration reduction and population stabilization efforts.
In: Constraints on development: focus on China and India, [compiled by] Nippon Foundation [and] Asian Population and Development Association. [Tokyo, Japan], Asian Population and Development Association, 1999 Mar. 71-85. (Population and Development Series No. 23)This article discusses water resources in China, comparisons with India, and deficits. The character of development is likely to be changed by growing limits on resources. Both India and China share similar water issues and have similar water consumption. China is tied with Canada as the third-most water-abundant country, after Brazil and Russia. India ranks 7th after Indonesia and the US. Both India and China have regions of scarcity. Over 75% of water is used for irrigation in both countries. Irrigation in China is expected to dominate water use through 2030, when industrial use will equal agricultural use and then stabilize. Agricultural water use is expected to increase indefinitely. In 1997, the Yellow River stopped flowing for 222 days due to dry weather. Constant deficits are due to upstream and downstream uses. About 122 projects divert water from the Huang He River in 85 counties and municipalities. By 1990, upstream uses affected downstream supplies. The State Council set nonbinding quotas on water allocation. Downstream uses support high value crops or off-farm uses, while upstream uses support low value crops with subsidized water pricing. About 66% of China's 600 cities are short of water. The largest cities are the most affected. The primary causes are excessive demand, slow development of water supply projects, and pollution. Water shortages affect about 2% of total output. China's cities are supplementing supplies by diverting water away from farmers. Lowering of the water table increases pumping costs. It is still undetermined as to whether China will adapt to avoid tragedy or postpone tragedy.
Washington, D.C., Worldwatch Institute, 1998 Sep. 89 p. (Worldwatch Paper No. 143)This study looks at 16 dimensions or effects of population growth in order to gain a better perspective on how future population trends are likely to affect the human prospect. The evidence gathered here indicates that the rapid population growth prevailing in a majority of the world's countries is not going to continue much longer. Either countries will get their act together, shifting quickly to smaller families, or death rates will rise from one or more [stresses such as AIDS, ethnic conflicts, or water shortages]. The sixteen topics are grain production, fresh water, biodiversity, climate change, oceanic fish catch, jobs, cropland, forests, housing, energy, urbanization, natural recreation areas, education, waste, meat production, and income. (EXCERPT)
In: Globalization and the rural poor in Latin America, edited by William M. Loker. Boulder, Colorado, Lynne Rienner, 1998. 137-54. (Directions in Applied Anthropology)This article examined the issues involved in a policy change to water demand management among farmer-managed irrigation systems (FMIS) in the highlands of the Colca Valley of southwestern Peru, and its effects on water use efficiency, equity, and orientation among smallholders. It is concluded that the transfer of models of water rights to irrigation systems with communal water management, unmeasured water use, and on-demand access at low or no cost runs counter to smallholder production operations in FMIS in the Andes and Latin America. Demand management would produce the industrial, corporate, large-scale farm operation that would replace or compete with the efficient, productive, smallholder sector. Privatization of water rights conflicts also with historical trends in land, labor, and capital in Latin America. Reforms instituted in the 19th century reverberate with class tension and conflict. The disjuncture of water rights from land ownership would lead to a new class of water rich landlords. Water rights attached to land that are transferable and alienable would reward rich landowners and limit water for irrigation during droughts. Colca Valley smallholders have found ways to control access to water and rights attached to land. Social and economic policies must strengthen local policies and be cautious of efficiency promises of applying demand management to Andean highland irrigation systems. 59% of Andean peasant communities (1589 sites) in Peru rely on irrigation, of which 61% distribute water communally. Recent reforms may include a new water law that would make water a freely tradeable commodity.
APPLIED ENERGY. 1997; 57(2-3):103-27.This article defines the problems of the Fertile Crescent region, and discusses the nature and extent of water resources and their management in Jordan. Jordan was once covered with naturally occurring forests and now has few natural freshwater supplies. Local rainfall is low, irregular, and unevenly distributed over the country. About 80% of Jordan is desert, which receives rainfall of under 50 mm annually. Rainfall is highest over the highlands. Water is channeled, dammed, or allowed to flood low lying areas. The remainder enters underground aquifers. Climate affects evaporation losses of water. The average evaporation rate amounts to about 94% of the average precipitation rate, which leads to increased water salinity in aquifers and reservoirs. Jordan obtains most of its supplies from rainfall in the winter. Jordan exploits surface water resources and renewable and nonrenewable groundwater resources. Per capita water supplies declined during 1987-95. The rate of water consumption exceeds renewable water supplies. Water shortages have reduced the use of fertile land for production, reduced the use of oil shale as an energy source, and reduced economic development because of high capital investment for water harnessing. Future efforts should focus on reuse of waste water, brackish water desalinization, and rainwater collection, which could satisfy about 30% of present water demand. Oil shale and waste heat from open-cycle gas turbines could be used for desalinization processes and generation of electric power. The likely doubling of population by 2020 creates a strong incentive to address water deficit issues.
NATURAL RESOURCES FORUM. 1997; 21(3):161-7.This article offers a framework for developing viable drinking water services and institutional development in developing countries. The framework evolved from the authors' research and field experience in transition and developing economies. Viability is related to operative technology, appropriate organizations, and adequate cost recovery within the context of water resources, human and economic resources, sociocultural conditions, and other constraints. The ability of institutions to solve the problems of coordination and production depends upon player motivation, the complexity of the environment, and the ability of the players to control the environment. Third party enforcement of agreements are essential to reduce gains from opportunism, cheating, and shirking. Empirical research finds that per capita water production costs are 4 times higher in centralized systems and lowest in decentralized systems with coordination from a central party. Three-tiered systems of governments, regulators, and service providers are recommended. Management options must be consumer driven. The worst case scenario is consumer's reliance on vending and reselling with no alternative source of supply. Policies should have a strong focus on institutional reforms in the water sector, the development of a consumer driven water sector, facilitation of appropriate private-public partnerships, sound management of existing capital assets, a system for building viability into national strategies for the water sector, and financially self-sufficient and consumer responsible water supply organizations.